Sunday, August 8, 2010

A trip to the Zoo

I'm very fortunate to have a great girlfriend. Undeserving as I am of her, she still sticks with me. Anyway, last week was my birthday. As a present to me, she took me to the Henry Doorly Zoo here in Omaha. Now, I've lived in Omaha for over six years now and I've only been to this world famous zoo once before, but I was unable to see much because it was early March and most of the exhibits were not open yet. It is widely regarded as one of the best zoos in the nation, coming in second only to the San Diego Zoo. Regardless of where it falls in the stats, this was a great trip. It was very hot and very humid and we walked the entire day sweating in the heat only to be cooled by random misters placed round the park.

Within this small enclosed area, I got to see the Lord's creation up close. From all corners of the world, from the depths of the sea to the ethereal regions, there was such a great diversity of life, a testimony to the wonders and majesty of creation which we cannot begin even to fathom, since we are created beings ourselves, though endowed with gifts that the rest of the animal kingdom lacks.

Having seen all this, I could only say "In wisdom, Thou hast made them all." Though I do sometimes wonder at the "reasoning" behind creations of such creatures like bats, snakes and even jellyfish, they are still our Lord's creation. (Side note: I saw a marquee of a church that asked "Why didn't Moses swat those two flies?" Humorous it may be and as much a I hate insects, I think that is a cavalier attitude towards creation). Now, you may ask, where I am going with this?

I was reminded of an instance in St. Augustine's Confessions where he traveled around North Africa in his search for God. He asked all the plants, animals and even mountains if they were God and they all responded "no." He then asked what they could tell him about God. And as if they spoke like an angelic choir, they responded "He made us." As I walked through the zoo and saw the diversity of creation, I asked myself, "Why isn't it simply enough to know, like those plants and animals and mountains of Augustine's vision that God created? Why must so many Christian people be obsessed with the "how" of creation?" I am speaking of evolution and related issues. Why must some Christians dogmatize fervently that God created every individual creature in 6 days and then go into the science of how such was done? I have no problem with people who believe such a thing. I also have no problem with those Christians who maybe believe that there was some sort of evolution that took place. However, I DO have a problem with those Christians who believe that creation and evolution happened independent of God. This is modern day deism, that belief that God is a clock maker who lets his creation go after He's done with it.

Why are so many Christians obsessed with the how that they even denigrate other Christians as being somehow less because of this one issue? (Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting for a moment that such can be used for Christian proponents of abortion or homosexual relations as equal to heterosexual quite simply because the Church HAS dogmatized on such issues, very clearly and articulately from the beginning). An issue such as this should be left to individual conscience. I find that whatever the viewpoint is regarding Christianity, those who most fervently condemn the opposing side really do not understand the underlying "science" they cling to.

As for me, I really don't have an opinion on this one way or the other. I don't think that if Adam and Eve were descended from an ape-like ancestor does not in any way denigrate or lessen the importance of Christ's Incarnation. Adam and Eve are still the ancestors of the human race and Christ's humanity is still preserved intact. I probably also don't have an opinion on this issue because I really don't believe it changes my perspective on creation. Again, the issue is that God created. And why did God create? For the simple reason that He loves. Creation is the natural result of the love which is shared between the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

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